Bucket List Train Journeys

Five Epic Train Journeys Which Should Be on Everyone’s Travel Bucket List

I have been lucky with train journeys on my travels.

Some 20 years ago, I ‘enjoyed’ the night train between Moscow and St Petersburg. Add the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka, the Death Railway in Thailand and an entertaining overnight trip from Tangier to Marrakech in Morocco. While travel to Russia is not common these days, there are epic railway trips to enjoy around the world.

This page lists five that I believe should be on everybody’s travel bucket list.

#1 – The Bullet Train (Shinkansen) in Japan

As a boy I remember being blown away by pictures of the Bullet train.

Japan felt like a high-tech alternative world, where anything was possible. While this is no longer the fastest train – it is still iconic enough to be on your train trips bucket list. There is a network of Shinkansen lines, covering the big cities around Japan. With scenery including the impressive Mount Fuji, big and comfortable seats and even a sushi cart for snacks – a trip on the Bullet Train is a memorable experience.

Bucket List Trains the Orient Express

#2 – The Orient Express

For a luxury (and affordable) train ride closer to home, the Orient Express is still on my bucket list.

The original route was between Paris and Istanbul, taking in iconic cities including Vienna along the way. It was discontinued as a regular commercial service more than a decade ago. The Orient Express now runs as a tourist experience, between London and Vienna. Dress to impress in beautifully retro dining cars – and sleep in private cabins. You’ll feel like you are in an episode of Poirot, though hopefully – nobody ends up murdered!

Do keep in mind that unless you are willing to shell out for the Grand Suite, you’ll have no shower and will need to share toilets.

#3 – Bucket List Train Journeys: The Death Railway

This railway line has a dark history.

It is also one of the world’s most scenic routes. The Death Railway runs between Ban Pong in Thailand, and Myanmar. Part of the route crosses the filming location for the iconic film ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’. The name comes from forced labour. Japanese prisoners of war cut the route from rocks from 1940 to 1943.

There is plenty more to explore in the area – which is an easy day trip from Bangkok.

Epic Trains Jacobean

#4 – Bucket List Trains: The ‘Hogwarts Express’ in the Scottish Highlands

Travel the highlands of Scotland in style with the Jacobite steam train – nicknamed the Hogwarts express.

This is not the official train from the movie, though its looks are close enough – and the route spectacular enough – for it to become a bucket list journey. The key experience involves crossing a giant viaduct. To say this is ‘picture postcard perfect’ is an understatement.

You can do this trip as part of a tour of the Scottish Highlands. I personally recommend combing it with a whiskey tasting distillery tour. You can also take a trip on the Jacobite as a day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow.

#5 – The Sunset Limited USA

This journey is on my personal hit list, it would be my first train trip across the USA.

The Sunset limited is an iconic route between New Orleans and Los Angeles. While most people fly, and a few drive, it takes a special kind of person to take the slow and scenic route. There are observation carriages with glass tops. With prairies and the end of the Grand Canyon to cover, there are plenty of amazing views.

It takes two days to complete the route – I hope to see you there one day soon!


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